Ladies of the Chorus

MOPA Ladies of the ChorusAccording to legend, a chorus girl leaves the back row to replace a suddenly indisposed leading lady.  In doing so she not only ‘saves the show’ but gives a performance so electrifying that she herself becomes a ‘star overnight’.  This sometimes happens. But not very often. This exhibition applauds those who didn’t!

In this sometimes startling collection of photographs and showbiz keepsakes we see the changing fashions-and, indeed, the changing shapes – of these entertainers as they sang and danced their way through the first half of the Twentieth Century. Vaudeville! Variety! Revue! Operetta! Musical Comedy! Pantomine!

The girls were there….row upon row upon row upon row of `em, from the fabulous Tivoli Toppers, Adorables at the Ambassadors, the Lovelies at the Luxor, the Capitol Cuties, to a forlorn quartet doing one night stands through the wheat belt town during the Great Depression.

One of the forlorn quartet recalled “I remember showing at Southern Cross once and we were making up inside by a candle – and the stage and the hall – all they had were these little tilley lights and they were up high and gave very little light – so we went outside and made up with the moon.  It was lighter than what we had in the dressing room”.

The most popular and impressive venue was the mighty Ambassadors!  Opened in 1928 this Hay Street venue bestowed prestige on all who worked there.

Fathers who denied their daughters permission to sing and dance at the rowdy Luxor in Beaufort Street were happy to see them at the Ambassadors in elaborate musical interludes supporting the latest celluloid fantasies from Hollywood.

Fashioned as a “Florentine Garden” under a sky blue dome, the Ambassadors, had a magnificent crimson velvet curtain, which now hangs high above the stage in His Majesty’s Theatre.

Ladies of the Chorus
His Majesty’s Theatre (downstairs) – 825 Hay St, Perth
On exhibition to 27 September 2013

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Image: The line from Midnight Frolics, 1929 (courtesy of the Museum of Performing Arts, His Majesty’s Theatre)